Over Christmas, we went to Mississippi to see family. While we were there, on one occasion, my grandparents, mom, brother, and I were all sitting around the kitchen table. My Nana was telling us that when my Papa and her were raising my mom and aunt, they had wanted to start a housing unit/apartments for single mothers and their children – who could otherwise not afford.
My mom said that that was so interesting, because now our family works and helps single mothers. How fascinating is it that God can pass those desires on to the next generation?
And that reminded me, or the Holy Spirit reminded me, of a verse in Scripture. Several, actually, are fairly similar, so I’ll list them all.
“‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin,” ~ Exodus 34:6b-7a
“For I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments,” ~ Exodus 20:5-6
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,” ~ Deuteronomy 7:9
In my ESV Bible, it says that when the Scripture says “thousand” or “thousands” here, it is referring to it in the sense of generations.
GENERATIONS. Y’all, how crazy is that?
We read the first part, like in the second passage, and think, ‘oh how could God put that on the children?’ But there’s always more to it than what we first see.
When you look at the Scripture, the whole Scripture, you begin to realize how tiny three or four generations (and at that, this only applies to those who hate God) is compared to a thousand generations.
Note: Anyone can come to faith in Jesus, repent, and start anew.
If you estimate about every thirty years – give or take – a new generation collectively begins, then this gets even larger. This means that, if you take it at its literal/face-value context, the Scripture is basically saying a period of time equaling about THIRTY-THOUSAND YEARS. 30,000.
That is amazing.
Now that we understand this, let’s recall what the Scripture was saying.
“keeping steadfast love for thousands,”
“showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments,”
“who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
I love the concept of the Holy Spirit DNA. Granted, when I say that I am not asserting that being in a Christian family makes you saved. It does not. Becoming a believer is a choice that no one else can make for you, but you.
However, Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” The way children are raised has an incredibly powerful impact on whether or not they will even have a walk with Jesus. Does that mean if you weren’t raised in a Christian family you will not become a believer? Or if you have raised your children to follow Jesus, that they will not turn from that? No. Free will must still be accounted for, but as the Proverb says, a child is not as likely to depart from a parent’s teaching.
I think that it’s so cool how the Lord can put a desire in the heart of the parent – to begin planting those seeds. Yet, not mean for it to come into fulfillment until the next generation.
As I’m writing this, the Holy Spirit reminded me of another incidence where this occurred. David and Solomon.
“Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells in a tent.'” ~ 2 Samuel 7:1-2
Here, David is finally at rest. He is king and from the text, does not appear to be fighting. But he realizes something: while David is living in a marvelous home, the ark of God was still in a structure made of cloth. He desires to build the Lord a home for the ark. What a godly thought to have! Who wound possibly refute that? But, in God’s plan, it was not yet time for this to occur.
“‘When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.'” ~ 2 Samuel 7:12-13
The Lord, here, is referring to Solomon. Solomon will build a house in the name of God. And that is exactly what happened.
“Then he called for Solomon his son and charged him to build a house for the Lord, the God of Israel. David said to Solomon, ‘My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. He shall build a house for my name. He shall be my son, and I will be his father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.” Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you.'” ~ 1 Chronicles 22:6-11
I think this is so cool, because it reminds me of my family. My Nana and Papa had a desire to start a housing establishment for single mothers and their children to live in. They wanted to help them. However, God did not intend for that to occur yet.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9
Instead, the Lord had His plan. And my family and I became involved with single mothers and helping them, and their children.
~ Southern Dreamer
What a neat story! I love your thoughts. 🙂
You have been such an incredible leader in helping single moms in our community. They work so very hard and we are blessed to be a part of their lives as well as their children. Thank you for the reminder that God’s timing is always perfect!